Blending in

Librarians in the Networked Community

Chrystie Hill and Michael Porter
Chrystie – background
How librarians are blending into spaces beyond the reference desk
Turn of the century – 2000 “Bowling Alone” – decline of civic engagement in the US
Social capitol is declining in America. Robert Putnam. “Life is easier in a community blessed with a substantial stock of social capitol. Networks of civic engagement foster study norms of generalized reciprocity and encourage the emergence of social trust.” Community. Networks. Trust. Communication.

About the time that Putnam was publishing his research, librarians were putting public access computers into libraries.

People were discovering that they could self-publish their own work, find like-minded people. The participatory web. “Readers’ advisory on steroids.”

Time Magazine – “It’s a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before.”

The social web is not controlled and not organized – and so some may find it a bit scary.

“Libraries must be part of society’s thinking about how we develop and nurture social as well as information networks.” Jean Preer, American Libraries, Sept 2001.

“Librarians have made retrieval and accuracy a god – disregarding what our users’ preferences are.”

Perceptions report: library=books.


examples of libraries being social nodes
atchison pl – kansas. blogging, connecting to community
arlington heights memorial library, ILL. iinstant chat, video blog
christ church city library, new zealand.
allen county public library, IN. link to community resources, including area artists.
clark county. “wi-fi zone” toolbars, playaways, e-books, etc.
orange co library, FLA. innovation at orange co library.
topeka/shaunee county. “Please take our survey.”
south carolina state library. social node.
webjunction connecticut, illinois. lots of social content
flickr groups. libraries and librarians. 365 library days project.

Uh-oh: 10% decrease in people using their library’s website between 2005 and 2007. (30 to 20%)

Something is broken: no place for people to represent them selves on library website, like social sites (ie, facebook)



Filed under ALA2007, Blogging

2 responses to “Blending in

  1. Thanks Mary Beth, we hope you enjoyed the presentation!


  2. Pingback: BlogJunction » Blog Archive » Weekly Tips: Internet Librarian 2007

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